A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!
curated by Vee Hua 華婷婷
✨Gleaming This Week✨
Interim Police Chief Adrian Diaz Appointed to Permanent Position as Head of Seattle Police Department
by Ashley Archibald
(Originally published on Real Change News and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Mayor Bruce Harrell appointed interim Chief Adrian Diaz to the permanent position as head of the Seattle Police Department (SPD) in a press conference on Sept. 20, the culmination of a monthslong national search process.
Diaz has held the interim position since former Chief Carmen Best resigned in 2020 amid the protests against police brutality sparked by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the subsequent backlash from the Seattle City Council and movement to cut police budgets.
Harrell, who was a vocal supporter of Diaz while he was interim chief, stressed that Diaz had “intangibles” such as “chemistry” and a “wow factor” as well as existing relationships with and knowledge of the Seattle community that made him right for the job. The new chief will focus on crime, gun violence, police accountability, alternative responses to police, and department culture.
Diaz is a person “who will make bold decisions, unpopular decisions, but are the right thing to do,” Harrell said.
Diaz expressed his deep gratitude for the appointment, acknowledging the difficult relationship between police and community members alongside the strain that current staffing levels have had on officers.
“My commitment to lead the Seattle Police Department is based in community,” Diaz said. “I’m committed to ensuring that the community is at the forefront of all of SPD’s work and engagement, and I’m committed to ensuring that the department restores safety citywide.”
He said that the city “requires action on crime, on gun violence, on perceived and real issues of safety,” and that Seattleites are “demanding a safer city.”
Reports of violent crime have increased in the city, according to police statistics. The most recent “Shots Fired” report from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office showed a jump in gun violence that disproportionately impacted Communities of Color.
However, advocates argue that policing is reactive and that resources that go to police could be better spent by reinvesting in communities in ways that address root causes of crime.
As recently as the week before his appointment, Diaz was one of three people in the running for the job. The selection process began in April. Fourteen candidates applied, a group that was winnowed down to five that took exams. Those five became three: Diaz, SPD Assistant Chief Eric Greening, and Tucson Assistant Chief Kevin Hall. The finalists participated in televised interviews on the Seattle Channel on Sept. 15.
The City ran a parallel community engagement process to receive public input, including a survey that attracted more than 1,300 participants.
City Council President Debora Juarez, who was present at the press conference, said that she was initially resistant to participating in the search process but described it as “honest” and “raw.” She also said that the group had to “talk about the elephant in the room: defund the police” and other difficult public safety topics.
Juarez and her fellow councilmembers must still approve Diaz’s appointment. If approved, Diaz will take over in an environment markedly different from when he assumed command in 2020. The current City Council recently approved bonuses to retain existing officers and hire new ones in an effort to boost the number of police in the city, which has fallen to the lowest levels in recent years. He has plenty to do.
The police department remains under the auspices of a federal consent decree, which officials believe is in its final stages. SPD must attract hundreds of new officers and put them through the new “Beyond the Badge” program. He will need to continue to implement alternatives to police responses and said that he plans to make the case to the City Council to fund a new model to measure and address disparities in enforcement.
King County Vision Clinic Returns With Free Eye Exams
From Oct. 20 to 24, the four-day Seattle/King County Vision Clinic is back to provide free eye exams and prescription eyeglasses to people in need. Services include vision screening, complete eye exams, reading glasses, and prescription eyeglasses. Bring a current eyeglass prescription (no older than one year) to skip the exam and just get eyeglasses.
Patients do NOT need ID or proof of immigration status. Services are NOT limited to residents of Seattle and King County.
More detailed information for patients is available in multiple languages at SeattleCenter.org/Patients.
CLINIC EVENT DETAILS
- Admission tickets will be distributed at 6:00 a.m. in Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center (corner of 2nd Avenue North and Thomas Street); please note that the building will not open early.
- No advance registration. FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED.
- Masks will be required; please do not attend if you are feeling sick.
- Interpreters available.
- Free parking in Mercer Street Garage, 650 3rd Ave. N
Volunteers are needed! Visit the Seattle Center website for details. Roles needed include:
- Health Insurance Navigators – All Days
- Interpreters (Amharic, ASL, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese) — All Days, no medical certification required
- Ophthalmic/Optometric Assistants/Technicians — All Days (Full Day shifts preferred)
- Ophthalmologists — All Days (Full Day shifts preferred)
- Opticians — All Days (Full Day shifts preferred)
- Optometrists — All Days (Full Day shifts preferred)
- Social Workers — All Days
On the Block Seattle Takes Over Black & Tan Hall’s Final Block Party of 2022
On Sunday, Sept. 25, On The Block (OTB) Seattle will collaborate with Black & Tan Hall on a block party. The combination advances the two orgs’ shared dedication to cultural resilience and hyperlocal, BIPOC artist-led economic development in Seattle neighborhoods.
OTB has curated the stage, bringing performances from Lil Lebowski (Pearl Dragon x Thomas Gray), Blksknn, Julie-C, and Alchemy Union featuring Rocket tha Prophet, SkrrSkrr, and The Slime Tyrants. The day will conclude with a full hour community jam and cypher lead by Jaiden Grayson featuring Josh Nucci on the guitar, Intylekt on percussion, and plenty of surprise guests!
A creative marketplace will also be present, featuring Throwbacks NW, Blue Cone Studios, and Authentics Premium Vintage. Attendees can get their photos taken with PNW Starshots, try organic handmade products by Self Care Square, sip healthy concoctions by Mahaba Moss, and learn more about health care for musicians with SMASH.
The free, all-ages, family-friendly event will be held outdoors from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Hillman City, at Black & Tan Hall (5608 Rainier Ave. S, between South Findlay and South Orcas).
The South Seattle Emerald Presents Our 2022 Electoral Debate on Oct. 4
The South Seattle Emerald is proud to present our 2022 Electoral Debate! Join us on Oct. 4 at Rainier Arts Center (or livestreamed to your device) where moderator Crystal Fincher will draw from community questions to find out where candidates stand on the issues that matter to you.
Confirmed Candidates: Emijah Smith and Chipalo Street, candidates for State Representative for the 37th Legislative District, Position 2
Attend live or tune in to the livestream on our Facebook page. RSVP through Eventbrite is required for live attendance! Masks required. Proof of vaccination or negative rapid test (provided) required.
The Emerald would like to thank our media partners: Real Change News, Hacks & Wonks, KNKX, and KVRU and our community partner, League of Women Voters.
This candidate forum was funded in part by a Voter Education Fund grant from King County Elections and the Seattle Foundation.
The South Seattle Emerald website contains information and content supplied by third parties and community members. Information contained herein regarding any specific person, commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the South Seattle Emerald, its directors, editors, or staff members.
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